As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to make economic impacts, many Hillsborough County families have started experiencing job and food insecurity. To help ensure students are still receiving nutritious meals, Hillsborough Education Foundation, in partnership with Feeding Children Everywhere and Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay, has provided emergency food assistance to Hillsborough County Public Schools students and families in need.
After receiving more than 600 boxes of grocery items from Feeding Children Everywhere, thanks to a generous donation from Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay, Hillsborough Education Foundation worked with Hillsborough County Public Schools Student Nutrition Services to distribute the food to students’ families at our highest needs schools.
“We want to give a special thanks to Chick-fil-A Tampa Bay who reached out to Feeding Children Everywhere who always partners with Hillsborough Education Foundation to take care of the students here in Hillsborough County,” said Oak Park Elementary School Principal Ryan Moody. “Some of our families rely on these meals as their only source of nutrition and we’re glad to be able to give these nutritious meals to keep kids going, because we want that learning to keep going and when we get back to school we’ll pick up right where we left off.”
In addition to the meals that were already being distributed by Hillsborough County Public Schools, families also received a box of food with multiple meal kits that are all portioned for six people and can last over an extended period of time.
Kashawna Miller, a mother of three, said she is grateful for the much-needed assistance, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It is very helpful and it’s very nice of them to even consider it, especially at a time like this, because it is hard especially for those of us who are out of work,” Miller said. “It definitely helps out a lot.”
With more than 147 school sites and 339 bus stop sites, Hillsborough County Public Schools has distributed more than 1 million meals since the start of the extended school closure. While the district is able to distribute meals for students, their program does not have the capacity to provide meals to adults.
According to Shani Hall, Hillsborough County Public Schools Student Nutrition Services General Manager, this donation will help bridge the gap of their programs limitations by feeding the entire family.
“We can’t reach everybody in the family, but a donation like this can affect the entire family, and that’s just amazing during this time,” Hall said. “It’s very difficult when they’re also trying to juggle their other responsibilities and to be stressed about food is just an additional burden that this will help alleviate. All of you have done an amazing service to the families of our community and we’re just honored to be part of this plan to help nourish our kids.”
While picking up food at the Oak Park Elementary distribution site, Carly Martinez explained that the grocery donation will help her family stay afloat since she has been laid off due to COVID-19.
“I worked at the airport and they temporarily let us go,” Martinez said. “Unemployment is taking a toll—let’s say we don’t have enough money to go out and buy food like we used to. It’s going to help a lot!”
To help ensure Hillsborough County students have the necessary supplies and resources to be successful while learning remotely due to COVID-19, make a contribution today at www.educationfoundation.com/donate.